Brian Harman shot a 1-under-par 70 on Sunday to win his first major title at The 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.
Harman, 36, lifted the Claret Jug with a final score of 13-under 271, winning by six strokes after maintaining the five-shot lead he has protected since Friday.
Harman built his advantage by opening the week with rounds of 67 and 65, then refused to fall back to the chasing pack. With Sunday the rainiest day of the championship, nobody in the field shot better than a 67, leaving Harman to close out the career-changing victory with ease.
"As far as being a bundle of nerves, I did pretty good," Harman quipped.
Tom Kim of South Korea (67), Australia's Jason Day (69), Sepp Straka of Austria (69) and Jon Rahm of Spain (70) tied for second at 7-under par. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina each shot 68 to tie for sixth at 6 under.
Harman entered the week ranked a respectable No. 26 in the world but had not won on the PGA Tour since 2017. Now he has joined Rahm (Masters), Brooks Koepka (PGA Championship) and Wyndham Clark (U.S. Open) as the four men to win major championships in 2023.
"I had a lot of success as a junior golfer," Harman said. "I won the U.S. Junior, and then as an amateur I was the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world for a good while, was the youngest American to get picked for the Walker Cup. I had success. Like, I had the pedigree.
"Then I got to college and it just kind of sputtered a little bit. I just didn't keep up with the progression. My pro career has been really good at times and not good at times. Last year, felt like I kind of found something a little bit, and yeah, man, I'm just -- I don't know. It's been great."
In similar fashion to his rocky start on Saturday, Harman was 2 over through five holes Sunday. His drive at the par-5 fifth hole -- the easiest on the course -- found a gorse bush, leading him to take an unplayable lie penalty. That narrowed his lead to three shots over Rahm at the time.
Harman responded with birdies at the par-3 sixth and par-4 seventh, sinking putts from 14 and 24 feet, to return to 12 under. And after a bogey the par-3 13th hole, Harman drilled a 40-foot birdie putt center-cup at the par-4 14th.
"He won by six," Rahm said. "It's not like he won by two or three. He won by six, so there's nothing really any of us could have done."
On a course with 82 bunkers, Harman landed in just two all week -- the second coming at his 72nd hole. He led the field in strokes gained putting, and of the mere six bogeys he made this week, he followed four with a birdie on the very next hole.
"I'm over the moon," Harman said. "It was a tough last three days, really was. Being able to get some sleep was big last night. Sleeping on a lead like that is really difficult, so glad of the way I hung in there the last couple days. Got off to a bad start both days and turned it around, so really happy with that."
Kim, 21, could have gotten closer to Harman had he not opened his round bogey-bogey. He recovered with a birdie at No. 4 and a 12 1/2-foot eagle putt at No. 5 to begin a push up the leaderboard.
Kim posted his third straight under-par round after dealing with a Grade 1 foot sprain that occurred walking outside his rental house following Thursday's opening 74.
"I was thinking about pulling out my second round and the third round," Kim said. "But I'm kind of glad I didn't. Stuck to it."
McIlroy converted a right-to-left birdie putt from 48 feet at No. 3 to launch a run of three straight birdies. But he never got past 6 under, making two bogeys and two birdies the rest of the way.
McIlroy finished in the top 10 for the seventh time in his past eight majors. August will mark a full nine years since he won his last major title.
"Over the last two years would I have loved to have picked one of those off that I finished up there? Absolutely," McIlroy said. "But every time I tee it up or most times I tee it up, I'm right there. I can't sit here and be too frustrated."
Cameron Young, who began the day five off the pace and played in the final pairing with Harman, faded to a 2-over 73. He finished tied for eighth at 5 under with India's Shubhankar Sharma (70).
Matthew Jordan, a member at Royal Liverpool since age 7, closed with a birdie in front of a supportive crowd to shoot 70. He tied for 10th at 4 under with fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (72) and Max Homa (69).
--Field Level Media